Newly appointed Corporate Senior Associate, Laura Cochrane, gives an insight into her background, key market trends and what she values about working at Arnold Bloch Leibler.
What skills and experiences would you identify as adding a different dimension to your approach as a lawyer?
I am currently undertaking my Masters at the University of Melbourne, where I have studied subjects such as negotiation and management for professionals. Subjects such as these provide me with a set of skills that complement my legal practice and make me a more well-rounded lawyer.
What sort of lawyer do you want to be for your clients?
I think it’s important not only to excel in understanding the law, but also to have good judgement and understand the commerciality of a matter. Clients can go to anyone to draft a document or research a legal question. Where I believe value can be added is being able to understand clients’ needs and desires, and be able to offer them sound, practical, honest advice in a timely manner.
What would you say are some of the key market trends or developments you are seeing in your practice this year?
This year, I have seen a lot more family businesses focusing on the future succession of their businesses. The patriarch and matriarch of the family are getting older and looking to the next generation to step up and become more involved in the governance of the business, whilst also preparing the next generation to take over control.
More families have been coming to us wanting to put in place formal rules, such as a family agreement or constitution, which set out the values and principles of the family and the business, and how the business should be conducted in the future. Of course, no family or family business is the same, so there is wide variety in the requirements of these families.
What advice would you give to new lawyers?
Get as much experience as you can on a wide range of matters. One of the best assets you can have as a lawyer - and one that makes you an invaluable adviser to a client - is a broad knowledge of different areas of the law, and the ability to take a commercial approach.
Also, be prepared to be thrown in the deep end. University teaches you to research and write essays but it does not teach you how to be a lawyer. Be open to the steep learning challenge, be willing to take on new experiences and don’t be afraid to ask questions. We were all new once!
What do you enjoy most about working at ABL?
I really enjoy working with such talented, experienced, successful lawyers. Some of the lawyers here have worked on incredible transactions and have such broad experience in their areas of expertise, it is a privilege to be able to observe them and learn from them.
I also really enjoy the broad range of matters I get exposed to at ABL - from sales and acquisitions, to business restructuring to succession planning for high-net-worth individuals - every day is different and a new challenge.
To find out more about Laura click here.